Petroleum jelly, commonly known as vaseline, is simply miraculous for your skin. With over 100 years of existence, it has been used by people worldwide to heal dry or cracked skin.
But is it safe to eat vaseline? You might often get this question in your mind. In this article, we will try to find out if vaseline is edible or not.
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What is petroleum jelly?
Petroleum jelly, petrolatum, white petrolatum, soft paraffin, or multi-hydrocarbon is a semi-solid mixture of mineral oil and waxes. Vaseline is among one of the oldest and claimed to be the purest form of petroleum jelly. You might find various generic petroleum jelly also, but their purity is not very well known.
On the other hand, vaseline claims to be the purest petroleum jelly out there. The company claims that vaseline goes through a triple purification process to remove all impurities before coming to your hand. Vaseline is anhydrous, which means it does not contain water content and so you can use it without any worry of bacterial growth in it.
Can you eat petroleum jelly?
Petroleum jelly, as the name suggests, is a petroleum product. It is a by-product of petroleum. It was initially developed to be used on cuts and bruises because it gives a sealant-like effect in preventing blood.
There are many generic petroleum jellies in the market, but we are referring to vaseline only for the simplicity of this article. According to Unilever, vaseline is completely safe to eat. Vaseline claims to pass all the parameters laid by FDA for foods safe for human consumption.
But this does not apply to other petroleum jellies. Vaseline or other petroleum jellies are not meant for ingestion. These are for external use only. However, if you by chance eat a small quantity of vaseline, it will not cause any harm to your health. The minor side effects could be seen in some cases. Symptoms may include indigestion, stomach ache, diarrhea, or loose stool.
During the initial days of vaseline, the founder Robert Chesebrough used to eat vaseline to market his product as healthy. Vaseline never said that it should be consumed and nor do we. You should use vaseline or any other petroleum jelly for external use only.
What happens when you eat vaseline?
If you see the history of vaseline, doctors used to prescribe vaseline for constipation relief in older days. Due to the laxative effect, it helps maintain your bowel movements.
There is no ill effect of eating vaseline in small quantities. The company claims it is 100% pure white petroleum jelly, and it does not have any impurity or contamination in it. However, its hydrophobic nature and wax-like composition may cause choking of your throat when consumed in large quantities. You should avoid eating vaseline due to these dangers.
Apart from this, vaseline in your stomach can make a layer on the food you have eaten. This will lead to indigestion, and your body will not absorb the nutrients from the food you have eaten.
Due to the side effects of petroleum jelly or vaseline, you may get loose motion, diarrhea, or other digestive problems.
Is vaseline toxic?
Vaseline is minimally toxic. But this does not mean you can eat it like any other fruit jelly on your toast. Vaseline is not designed to consume orally. It is a petroleum product, so it can cause some danger to your health even though it is purified many times during its production.
Some common side effects of eating vaseline could be upset stomach, loose stool, and other digestive issues. It may also cause choking of the throat if eaten wrongly.
Is vaseline petroleum jelly bad for you?
Vaseline does not cause any harm to your health if applied externally on the skin. It is intended to use on dry skin and minor cuts. Swallowing vaseline jelly in small quantities does not cause any serious harm to your body. However, its hydrophobic nature and thick consistency may trouble you if ingested in large quantities.
It can chock your windpipe in your throat and cause you to shorten your breath. Petroleum jelly can also alert your immune system, resulting in cough, throat irritation, or mucus building. Keep vaseline away from children. If you have ingested any amount of vaseline, try to throw up and consult your doctor immediately.
Is vaseline a laxative?
Vaseline is made using petroleum wax and mineral oil. Due to its thick composition, it slides in your stomach easily. It is hydrophobic, which makes it insoluble in your digestive tract. Also, vaseline has inert compounds, which are not reactive in most circumstances. Due to these properties, your body could not digest vaseline, and it comes out through your poop.
As vaseline is somehow sticky, it acts as a lubricant in your colon, making it easy for you to poop. Although vaseline is not meant to be consumed by humans, it is a good laxative.
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Vaseline is a great product for healing your dry and cracked skin. But it is not good for human consumption. It does not harm if consumed in small quantities, but it can cause digestive problems such as diarrhea or stomach ache in large quantities. Vaseline has laxative properties, so it does help you with constipation.
The company claims it has passed all FDA guidelines laid for human consumable products. However, on their official website, they also have mentioned not to consume vaseline, as it is meant for external application only. We advise consulting your doctor if you have accidentally consumed vaseline.